Sahaara Charitable Society

In November 1994, a group of concerned citizens gathered together and decided to bring about change among the most underprivileged people of Mumbai city where very few people want to go. The group also realized that each one of the underprivileged people also have a dream and that it would be a great privilege to work along with the underprivileged to help them articulate their dream and then equip them to see the fulfillment of their dream. With the above vision in mind, Sahaara Charitable Society was registered as a non-governmental organization in 1994 with a vision of "Gifting Dreams". Vision & Mission Everyone has a dream! The poor and underp...
Jul 14, 2014

46 children successfully mainstreamed back to schools and a family reunited!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai. The tracking program of children discharged from juvenile homes help children get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The trackers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

Over the years, as we have interacted with the authorities of the Child Welfare Committe and children in Observation Homes, we have been exposed to another grave need. Many children in Observation Homes have no family or relatives with them in the city and could be taken advantage of, if on the street. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), after tracing the origins of their family, passes an order for them to be discharged from the Home and reunited with their family. Being a minor, the child has to be physically escorted by two adults. The delay between the order from the court and the reunion with the family can reach up to 12 months. Sahaara saw this need during our visits and interactions with the CWC and children at the Umerkhadi Observation Home. Thus, in 2014, we have begun offering our services to the CWC to escort children back to their home in a timely manner to help them reintegrate into society.

The story of Khushi reflects this new involvment of Sahaara, where (sensing the urgency) we went out of our way to help someone in desperate need.

Khushi is a 17 year old girl who hails from Shivmogga District, Karnatka. She lost her father at the age of 4 and stayed with her mother, two brothers and two sistersin Shivmogga. Almost all of her family members are the rag pickers. Khushi’s mother is addicted to alcohol. When Khushi’s elder brother got married, both the families started staying together and his mother-in-law looked after everyone.  

At the age of 15, Khushi’s brother’s mother-in-law forcibly got Khushi married with her neighbour who was a married Nepali man. Khushi had no choice but to spend her whole life with this man. Very soon she became pregnant and in the middle of her pregnancy her husband went to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh to meet his first wife. Khushi delivered a baby girl. She was desperately waiting for husband but and he never turned up. Khushi decided to go in search of him. She left her 3-month-old baby with her mother and started her journey towards Gorakhpur for which she had to catch a connected train from Mumbai.

When she reached Mumbai, a ladies public toilet owner at the railway station kept Khushi with her for 2 days. One concerned women citizen of Mumbai observed this and found something wrong and brought this to the notice of an NGO. That particular NGO then rescued Khushi from the public toilet owner and admitted her in Umerkhadi Observation Home in Dongri in July 2013.

Sahaara staff came in contact with Khushi in the month of January 2014. As a part of our work, our staff traced her address of origin. The Child Welfare Committee then issued an order of escorting her to the Child Welfare Committee in Shivmogga in the same month but due to shortage of the staff, she couldn’t be escorted and was waiting for nearly 6 months. Finally we contacted the NGO who brought Khushi to Umerkhadi Observation Home and together we arranged for an escort.

On 16th of June, 2 female staff of that NGO and one of our male staff along with Khushi journeyed to Shivmogga, Karnataka. The team met with Khushi’s family members. Khushi was desperate to see her daughter but didn’t find her anywhere. After enquiring with her family members, she found out that they had given her daughter away to someone in her absence. On 17th of June, she was presented before the Child Welfare Committee of Shivmogga. The committee passed a decision to send Khushi to ‘Surabhi Ujwala Home’ which we visited and found it to be good for Khushi. 

The committee has also ordered Khushi’s family to present her daughter in front of the Child Welfare Committee at the earliest and have kept the ration card of the family into the custody of the committee which they will release only when the baby is presented before the committee.

On 21st June, during a follow up call made to Khushi, she was excited to share with us that after about 11 months she has got her daughter back who was kept with her elder sister. The Child Welfare Committee has handed Khushi over to her elder sister and she is so happy to have found her daughter.

The satisfaction that we could sense in Khushi’s voice during this phone call has been a real reward for all that we could do for her.   

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Apr 28, 2014

20 Poor Children enroll for Basic Computer Course!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children living in Mumbai juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized children in Mumbai. Institutionalized, these children are most often from highly poverty stricken families. 

As a part of the holistic intervention therein, Sahaara imparts computer education to the children between fourteen to eighteen years of age in the juvenile homes. Sahaara’s in-house computer course delivers a fitting foundation to the children preparing their skills for the technology-driven world outside the homes. The children attending the computer training get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.

Salim* completes his computer course!

Salim is an 18-year-old boy staying in David Sassoon Industrial School (DSIS). He is an eighth class student and has just completed Sahaara’s course in Basic Computer Literacy.

Salim hails from the city of Mumbai. He was around 14-years-old when his parents passed away and since then, he was in the care of his elder sister who lived in the western suburbs of Mumbai. As his sister had a low income and found it difficult to handle the expenses, Salim wanted to leave his studies and find a job so that he does not become a burden on her. On being offered a catering job in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujrat by a stranger, Salim was excited and decided to leave Mumbai in the year 2011. While waiting at the Mumbai Central railway station for the person who promised him a job, a policeman and a social worker approached him and, on questioning, found that he was under-age and straying away from home for a job. The policeman took Salim and admitted him in the Umerkhadi Observation Home where minor children who are straying away are kept. Salim’s sister was under the impression that he was in Ahmedabad. During the time he was in Umerkhadi Observation Home, Salim’s sister got married and moved to her husband’s village. When she was informed about Salim, she came to meet him. She realized that Salim’s educational needs could be met through the Observation Home and hence, decided to let him continue stay there. Salim was later shifted to DSIS in 2012.

Sahaara met Salim when he joined Sahaara computer training centre run at the DSIS home for the July 2013 batch. In the beginning of the course he was not too comfortable attending the class as he could not speak English. He was very irregular but gradually he felt comfortable as the Sahaara teachers helped him to converse in Basic English and helped him overcome the difficulties he had in learning computers. In December 2013, he completed his computer-training course in the basics with good grades.

Salim desires to enter into a job where he could use his computer skills. He also desires to buy a used computer as soon as he gets a job so that he can continue to practice all that he has learnt. Sahaara is counselling him for his career and will be referring him to an After Care Home where he can be accommodated after he leaves DSIS. Salim is grateful to Sahaara for helping him learn computers and for encouraging him to work towards fulfilling his dreams.

* Name changed to protect identity

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Apr 11, 2014

51 children mainstreamed back into formal schools!

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in juvenile homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai. The tracking program of children discharged from juvenile homes help children get a start which will help them break out of the poverty cycle and fulfill their dreams of a stable future.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The trackers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

Rahila is one such girl who has regained her right to education by the interventions carried out by Sahaara's tracking personnel.

16-year-old Rahila comes from a Muslim family in Mumbai, where she is the youngest among her four sisters and has one brother. When Rahila was 10-year-old, her parents died in a tragic accident. Her elder sister, who was married, took responsibility for all her siblings and brought them to her home. She admitted them in the local school so that they could continue education.

In September 2012, Rahila was 15 years old and studying in Grade 6. When a boy in her locality expressed his affections for her, she was attracted to him. As their relationship grew stronger, the boy convinced Rahila to steal some valuables and cash from her sister’s home and elope with him.  In her immaturity, she agreed and they both fled to live at the boy’s relative’s house at Trombay in Mumbai. When her elder sister realised that Rahila is missing, she filed a missing complaint at the local police station. Later, Rahila was found with the boy at Trombay. They were confronted and brought to the police station. Rahila was sent to the Umerkhadi Observation Home and the boy was charged with kidnapping and sent to prison. Rahila’s sister and other siblings were very disturbed due to this incident.

The Sahaara staff met Rahila at the Umerkhadi Observation Home. She was counselled and helped to understand that she has a bright future ahead of her if she uses her potential, and focuses her attention towards her studies. When she realised her error, she was helped to be released so that she can continue education. Our staff also counselled Rahila’s family and encouraged them to allow her to continue schooling. Once they were willing, our staff helped her get admission back in her school.

A year later, in December 2013, the police arrested Rahila once again and presented her before the Juvenile Court in same case of theft, as she was first offender while stealing her sister’s valuables and cash. As Rahila’s elder sister sought our help to get her released, the Sahaara staff arranged a free lawyer and helped Rahila to get acquittal from her charges.

Now, Rahila continues her education through correspondence and attends a Beautician’s course at a nearby parlour.

Your generous donations have enabled Sahaara to provide what is necessary for Rahila to continue her education and have an opportunity to dream of a better tomorrow! 

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